Fayetteville, and you will do the country a great service. I learn there is a lot of ordnance at Springfield intended for this place. Can you furnish transportation and escort to send it through?
JOHN M. THAYER,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS,
Fort Leavenworth, Kans., March 23, 1864
Colonel WILLIAM A. PHILIPS,
Fort Gibson, Cheroke Nation:
DEAR COLONEL: Your private letter of the 13th is just received. I suppose a letter of mine, written through General Blunt, with directions for him to read and forward to you, would satisfy you as to some matters of which you write. I have not seen or heard any expression from General Blunt or other officers which were unjust or unfavorable to you, and hope no feeling will allow you to swerve from your proper line of duty. We have to take position according to rank and not according to inclination, and not always according to fitness. I found Colonel Ritchie off duty without charges against him, and ordered him immediately to be placed on duty according to his rank.
Having confidence in your abilities to carry on the work and otherwise manage affairs at Fort Gibson, and having myself determined to augment the force at salt-works, I suggested the location of that Second Regiment at that place to report direct to General Blunt, because as I learned, the colonel ranked you and might disturb my previous arrangements. I have also heard that Ritchie seems "crazy" at times. If I believed this I would require charges or other process against him, but I do not credit such expressions. It will not do for me to take notice of mere slang denunciations. Tangible evidence, procured with due notice, should always be required, or the report of some credible person carefully presented in writing before I would make even preliminary steps injurious to a comrade in arms.
General Blunt has desired a reorganization, not a muster out of the Indians, but I think such a course cannot be taken without working greater mischief. All such shifts are calculated to create new occasions for reorganization; and I consider such ideas entirely impracticable. The best measures to secure discipline and drill of troops are those prescribed by regulations and treatises on the various arms of service, carefully applied to men of any and all conditions. Your services as a colonel have been remarkably prominent and should entitle you to promotion, if promotions were easily secured in our army. But you will see around you a great many colonels who claim promotion also, not on the same but other grounds, and not one in twenty is successful. The idea of changing the form of government in the Indian country is not likely to occur at present. You will see the Government has ceased to create military governors, and to create a territorial government in the Indian country would require, the importation of white men to carry it on, as the Indians would no doubt prefer their ancient patriarchal form. At present, therefore, no change of civil government is likely to transpire within the Territory.
If, as now seems probable, the troops formerly attached to the headquarters of Fort Smith are claimed and held as belonging to